The Down – KFC (double down)

Just saw a TV ad advertising the KFC Down so I’ll write my post about it now! Today (launch day) I went to try one with a few of my male colleagues. None of the ladies in the office wanted to try and even some of the guys turned down the offer to try KFC’s new offerings. The funny thing is we in the office have been joking about the “Double Down” since we heard about them over in the US of A and now they have reached our shore for the next four weeks unless you’re in Tasmania (you’ll get it for six weeks) so it was only appropriate we went to join the party for it’s launch.

It’s advertised as a “mantime” meal, but as a female I found it pretty small and not that big of deal considering most burgers and meal deals are way more kilojoules. I ordered the Original Down and I have to say I was pretty disappointed – the Zinger Down is definitely a much better option, but it’s also a lot more kilojoules and fat. The Down has cheese, bacon and barbeque sauce on the Original Downs, I was expecting the cheese to have melted more and the bacon to be cooked more, but the KFC I visited seemed quite packed and there were lots of guys ordering the down. So some of the advertising has worked!

The Down is $7.95 just for the “burger” either Zinger or Original and $9.95 for the Down Combo with a can of drink and small chips.

It comes in a box and this is definitely required since there are no buns it’s pretty hot to hold, unless you enjoy burning your finger tips. It was definitely not as oily as I was expecting. This is probably because it’s the chicken breast and so less fat.

Tab to split the burger box
Easy eating

It also has a tab to split the box in half so it makes it slightly easier to eat the actual burger since you can’t really eat it like a regular burger.

The actual burger
Two pieces of chicken breast, two pieces of chesse, bacon and bbq sauce

I would have preferred the buns to actually be on the burger, as it makes it easier to eat and more filling. I finished eating this comfortably in about 5 to 10 mins since it was quite small and was still hungry so ate half my colleagues chips. Some of the other guys ordered the Zinger version and I think that is the way to go. The Zinger Downs are much more substantial so it seemed to be more filling. I saw one guy at another table who ended up ordering another Down after eating one, so I think for the average guy this will be novel but probably not worth the $7.95. It’s a bit like eating the two piece feed with a piece of bacon and some cheese. After the meal I was still pretty hungry though I would say I have an average to good appetite.

The nutritional facts
It's not too bad

Overall, it was fun to try it out. I thought it was interesting that it’s aimed squarely at the boys but don’t let the advertising scare you girls from giving it a go. If you like KFC (I do when I get cravings) it’s pretty average and definitely do-able! I can’t help but think it’s a bit funny since it really isn’t that crazy, it’s definitely more hype and less delivery. All the news coverage it received the day before it launched is completely unwarranted, you’d eat more kilojoules and fat in a Big Mac so what’s the big deal really? There are heaps of other things on the market that easily beat this in unhealthiness easily. Everything in moderation I say, also it’s good because the chicken is breast fillets which are much less fat than other parts. They also give you two vouchers if you purchase this for some more KFC meal savings.

One of my colleagues has recently returned from a trip to the USA and he agreed the American equivalent is definitely much better and much larger, the Australian Down is definitely underwhelming – even its name got changed!

If we do another KFC run I think I will skip the Down and head for the Streetwise lunch deal – much better value and much more filling or some wicked wings! I’ll leave the boys to their “bromance” and “mantime”.

Value: 2/5

Sated feeling: 2/5

Taste: 2/5 (it doesn’t have all that much taste)

Overall: 2/5



Online bake sale for Japan

Bid on hundreds of yummy baked goods to help Japan

The day is finally here where will host their Bake Sale to raise funds towards Second Harvest Japan, the nation’s first food bank. There are so many scrumptious delicacies on offer but unfortunately most of them are in America  😦  Which really is a shame too because I have yet to experience American baking in all its full glory. I have had some, just not enough!  😛

After scouring the list of goodies it seems that the only Australian munchies on offer come from Manu (not the french guy on MKR) and NQN.

If you feel like consuming some yummies made from famous people and not feel guilty because it’s for a good cause then go right ahead and start your bidding! I think tomatotart is in San Francisco so bidding probably won’t start until like 7pm Sydney time if they start at midnight San Fran time. Maybe.  When theres cake to be had nobody bothers with the details  :p

– ant –

Ipad 1, Ipad 2 or I don’t know?

I’ve been anticipating tablet computers for quite a few years now, ever since late high school (1998 onwards) I geekily looked forward to the day when we would be able to read books, email on the move and play games on a small portable tablet device, which ultimately lightened our load whilst improving our connectivity. Now they are here, and they are starting to get into full swing. The release of the ipad 1 in April 2010 finally opened the doors for a new age of portable communication. I skipped getting the ipad 1 because I knew watching Apple’s style of marketing and products that the first generation releases have never really been all that great. I see it as Apple using its customers as the ‘beta’ testers or guinea pigs and it’s always a few generations in that pays the most dividends.

I’m not going to go through the specifications between the two ipads, you can see the ipad 2 specs or compare them but what I will say is that I am slightly disappointed that the ipad 2 has not come out with the specifications I was hoping it would, but then again that wouldn’t leave much room for Apple to release any further generations. So even though I have been hanging out for the ipad 2, I think I will sit tight and wait a little longer to see how the ipad 3 turns out. The rumours of an ipad 3 in September 2011 are far-fetched, but then again the truth is stranger than fiction and Apple may change their game plan, otherwise I will wait till April 2012. However, there are a bevy of new tablet devices set to roll out this year and this has Android based tablets looking promising, so the tablet landscape may shift yet!

In the meantime here are some of the specifications I would like to see on the next generation ipad before I jump onto the bandwagon –

  • Retina display (to make gaming and reading much more real and less strain on the eyes);
  • Better megapixel cameras on the front and back (they are where Nokia was when the first mobile had a camera). You wouldn’t use it as a camera, but having better quality cameras for video conferencing would be great particularly since Samsung’s Galaxy tablet has an 8mp camera on the back;
  • Better speakers on the ipad (a decent level of sound quality for facetime and sharing the ipad with others to watch or play games);
  • More RAM on the unit; and
  • USB ports/SD card readers supported on the actual tablet would be nice, but I’ll be realistic!

Things they may add due to technological advancements and competition:

  • NFC technology (where you can pay for things using your ipad); and
  • AMOLED screens (the next generation of screens “Active Matrix Organic light Emitting diode”)


Apple ipad 2

You need to remember that the ipad and other tablets are consumption devices, they are not meant to replace the desktop or laptop – at least not yet. So if you want a tablet for the consumption of media (reading, games, movies, music or communicating) then you’re on the right track, if you’re expecting more from an ipad you might be better off looking for a netbook, laptop or desktop. As they say you can’t compare apples with oranges and it will be some time before they catch up to the power and capabilities of laptops if they even head in that direction purely due to the size and the technology and costs, but I definitely see the future of communication and media with tablets even though some functionality is lost in its method of interaction. I can’t wait till they get lighter, more powerful, more intuitive and ultimately cheaper. Augmented reality is almost at hand (think Terminator 2 – statistics and information fed to you on your tablet of objects and places).

In the meantime I’ve decided to get an ipod touch 32gb which is almost like a baby ipad 3 (it has retina display) and wait till Apple or someone else comes out with a tablet worth buying, I actually wouldn’t mind a tablet between 7 to 9 inches in size and with a few more capabilities to what is currently offered. It’s also interesting to note that Apple don’t list the RAM that their tablets run on, but they are said to be 256mb (ipad 1) and 512mb (ipad 2). Don’t forget the ipad 2 also has the A5 dual core chip which should see things speed up from the original A4 chip.

Ultimately, the way I see the market now is a bit like the wars between Beta and VHS, Plasma and LCD or HD CD and Blu-Ray, someone will likely take the lead and one or the other will fall back and become less viable. In the instances of Beta and HD CD, the loses meant a significant waste of money for those who jumped on to the technology too early, while it won’t be the same for tablets I don’t think the win is clear yet considering the two big contenders Google (Android) and Apple have both recognition and money behind them. So unless you’re super desperate to get your hands on a tablet to do your reading or gaming etc it may be worthwhile to take a step back and wait a little longer. If you really can’t wait then you’ll probably be better off buying yourself an ipad 2 since they have improved enough over the ipad 1 that they would be a better investment (unless you can get that ipad 1 for really cheap) if you’re just wondering whether to upgrade, then sit tight there are better things on the horizon.

As for the question of WiFi only or WiFi + 3g – unless you can get a good price on the data plan, it’s not really worth the 3g. The price of data at the moment in Australia is just too high (note: other countries tend to be cheaper). You’re better off sticking to using the WiFi only model and using an established connection at home or out and about. If you’ve got the spare change to have a data plan then by all means go for it. The other thing to note is that the WiFi only models have better sound quality due to the ability of the speakers to sit where the 3g would be found on the WiFi + 3g model, so something to also consider!

What are you hoping to see or have on a tablet computer and how has having a tablet changed your usage or interaction with media?


Sushi Choo Buffet

Sushi Choo Ad

Sushi Choo’s famous $20 All-You-Can-Eat sushi train buffet has once again graced our city to my excitement as I have been having a sushi craving and was really quite sad when I found out about last year’s event much too late.

Owl and I were determined to reach our goal of 15 plates each, effectively reducing the cost to only $1.50 a plate. What a bargain! We met up with another friend after work and relaxed in the comfortable lounge area just outside of Sushi Choo. We were there half an hour before opening time due to our excitement which allowed us to observe the setting up of the restaurant as it is a very open plan area.

The decor was very aesthetic, lighting at a comfortable level of brightness and the jazz music soft. Owl was unimpressed by one of the chefs coughing into his hand and then handling the raw tuna so she stayed away from it.

We were rather impressed by the selection provided as past reviews indicated a much lesser variety – I think they have changed the menu slightly this year. There was the usual gyoza, raw salmon/tuna nigiri, ebi nigiri, seaweed salad, edamame, pickles and a bunch of rice rolls. The rice roll selection was vast including crumbed chicken, cooked tuna, spicy and non-spicy raw salmon/avocado, sweet potato, teriyaki chicken and even soft shelled crab with lettuce! I’m sure there were many others but my eyes were fixated on the nigiri and seaweed salad. They also had a tangy cold noodle dish and have replaced the potato croquettes with a beautifully deep fried panko crumbed prawn dish. They were so crispy that you could even crunch through the tail. This is quite possibly the most impressive dish I had during the course of the dinner and polished through 2 of them.

As usual the service was impeccable and made for a very good night out indeed. We were fully satiated by the hour and happily stumbled off whilst fighting off severe food coma. Its too bad there weren’t any dessert dishes because i might possible have afforded a mango pudding  😉

I have read a lot of reviews about this $20 deal with many a divided party but personally, I have to firmly say that it is worth your $20 even if most of what you consume is rice and the fish is somewhat sinewy. The ability to eat as many varieties of dishes as you like and no time limit with impeccable service makes it worth the $20 and I would say definitely try it at least once.

Oh, and our tally? Friend walked away with 12 plates, Owl with 15.5 and me with 16.5 (4 plates of seaweed so its cheating a little teehee!). Money well spent!

Sushi Choo

320 George Street
Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 9240 3000

Injuries without insult

I managed to injure my left hand twice this week doing pretty mundane things. Usually I’m not one to injure myself without due cause but on Sunday I was sitting at the computer and got my index finger caught between the arm of my desk chair and the underside of the desk. This was compounded by the fact that the chair actually springs up a bit and gets firmly wedge underneath the table if I don’t wheel backwards first. It was probably the worst time I’ve ever jammed a finger (I’ve done some nasty jams), the damage affected all the way between the knuckle and tip getting squashed as well as the middle finger copping collateral damage. I jumped up pretty fast after that and ran to the sink to run it under cold water, I then iced it for 45 mins and was expecting the nail to probably bruise and detach from my finger due to the force over the next few days, but with the quick response of running it under cold water and icing it with a towel between the ice pack and finger I managed to minimise the injury so much that after 3 days you could hardly tell any damage was done. My finger was sore and stiff for the first few days but by the fourth day the pain had substantially subsided. I was pretty impressed with how much you can minimise injuries if you are fast enough to do the right thing. I also kept the finger elevated above my heart, which reduced swelling.

The following day while slicing up a roast I managed to cut a chunk of flesh off my pinky on the same hand, again a quick response with compression on the wound, some antiseptic and a bandaid reduced the pain and damage that by the second and third day the detached part had grown back to the main part of the pinky and five days on a small wound is visible but no longer an obstruction.

I also managed to catch a cold all in the space of this last week, one thing I have to say I’m really glad to have been introduced to (by Ant) is Lemsip – it really makes having a cold so much better. I’m not normally a fan of hot lemon drinks but Lemsip tastes pretty decent and takes away all the aches and pains thanks to the paracetamol in it, just don’t mix it with other cold and flu tablets.

Note: if you leave Lemsip residue or an unfinished amount in a dirty tea cup it seems to clear out all the old tea and coffee stains. Weird!

I was worried I wouldn’t be able to play bass tomorrow for all the above reasons, but it looks like at this rate and with more rest I’ll be okay and with minimal damage.

I’ve learnt it is good to always have the following on hand and easily accessible at home:

  • Ice pack or frozen vegetables for bruised injuries or back pain
  • A tea towel (IKEA ones are awesome for first aid, they are thin and cheap .49c so if they get really damaged you can just chuck them, thickness is important as thicker towels don’t let enough of the chill through)
  • Antiseptic cream (or liquid), the tubes of antiseptic cream are great – you can use them so easily on wounds and your piercings and they don’t go everywhere
  • Bandaids so underestimated but they help from blisters in shoes to cuts and I’m pretty sure I’ve used one to mend a flower

If you’re sick you should consider having the following:

  • Lemsip
  • Vicks
  • Aloe Vera tissues


They are just some of my thoughts and suggestions, what are some of the things you couldn’t live without during these times?




Did you ever play that game as a kid where you had to name countries according to their alphabets?

They Might Be Giants takes all the work out of it for you:

– ant –

Cafe Ope-blah

Owl and I were very intrigued when we heard that Cafe Opera’s buffet had unlimited Peking Duck. That plus all the yummy seafood and the paella was a temptation to not be resisted for long. We heard that the seafood buffet only runs on the weekends so we were very careful to book 4 months in advanced for a Saturday (19th February 2011 to be exact).

The sandstone building is beautiful with an air well in the middle and warm lights guiding you. We weren’t quite sure where to go so I went to the Information booth but the man completely ignored me. He was on the phone and didn’t even make eye contact to indicate that he is going to attend to me next. That was a little off-putting so I traipsed to the concierge around the corner and enquired of him instead. He was very helpful and courteous which made up for the former rudeness.

Service at Cafe Opera was excellent. We had a very friendly and attentive waitress who knew when to drop by and when to leave us to our messy seafood munching. Unfortunately, the food was rather disappointing. Choice was very limited particularly the hot food selection with only steamed veggies, 1 curry, rice, a fish dish, a chicken dish, roast potatoes and roast lamb/pork. Oddly, their choice for soup was Laksa soup without the noodles or usual condiments. Not exactly an appetising option even if it was their only one.

No matter, we were here for the Peking duck, lobster and paella!

Okay the Peking duck was there in overflowing abundance but the paella was replaced with seafood pasta (not even a marinara! some random tomato based hodge podge with maccheroni rigati tubes). And alas! There was no champagne lobster to be had! No indication of it anywhere and our friendly waitress didn’t inform us that we might have to order it. I looked around several times that night and nobody was eating lobster either. 😦

The sashimi was fresh although the hunks took awhile to chew through so it was a wee warm by the time you swallowed it. Sadly, even the Peking duck was disappointing. The pancakes and duck were cold since they come out from the kitchen and sit on a table. They also forewent the traditional crispy skin and instead put bits of meat so really, it was more like duck spring rolls. Like uber thick duck popiah. Pleasant enough, but it wasn’t Peking duck.

The dessert selection was excellent, however. There were so many varieties of cakes, mousses, fruits and even a tasty toffee ice cream which went super well with the pecan pie. I expected there to be something special like a chocolate fountain because it was the Valentines weekend but unfortunately it wasn’t there. The most surprising dish of the night was the cream coloured cake with light green gelatine on the top. I thought it would taste like melon but it turned out to be mint! Very refreshing in more ways than one.

Overall, we were pretty disappointed with the quality and selection considering we paid AUD$95 each. Definitely will not be going back. It’s unfortunate that I only managed to find 2 blogs about it and the second one disappeared when I looked for it again. The first one was sponsored by Intercontinental so it must have been a little biased. Or a lot biased.

I hope this entry serves as a review point for people wanting to know if it is a good place to attend. I would say save your money and go to the Corn Exchange or Sheraton on the Park.

As it stands, I still have not really found my perfect buffet yet. The search continues! 😉 Where are your favourite buffet hits?

Inter Continental Hotel
117 Macquarie St, Sydney, NSW
Tel: +61 (02) 9253 9000

Chinese Herbal Soup – Strength/Blood Tonic

I have been feeling run down and tired lately so I decided to make some herbal soup in our newly acquired crockpot to help replenish vigour and promote blood/haemoglobin production.


Astralagus – Huang Qi
Codonopsis (Dange Shen) or Ginseng
Dioscorea – Shan Yao
Polygonatum/Solomon’s Seal – Huang Jing
Red Dates/Jujubes – Da Zao
Lotus Seed
Longan (dried or fresh; remove pip)
Black Fungus/Cloud Ear Fungus
Dried goji berries/wolfberries


Amount of herbs I used. From top left clockwise: Solomon's Seal, Astralagus, Diascorea, Liquorice Root, Goji Berries, Dried Longans, Black Fungus, Lotus Seeds and Red Dates.

4 whole cloves of garlic
About a 3cm knob of ginger – peeled and sliced

Other Ingredients:

1 whole small chicken (skin peeled off)
½ head of celery – chopped
5 carrots (depends on the size – they’ve been pretty small at Coles lately) – chopped


  1. Place the whole chicken in a large pot, fill with cold/tepid water and bring to a boil.
  2. After boiling for about 10-15 mins, chuck away the water and wash the chicken under cold water. This is to remove as much fat/oil from the chicken as possible. You can peel the chicken skin at this step as well if you haven’t peeled it before boiling.
  3. Place chicken in the crockpot with all the herbs, fill with hot water and bring to a boil. After that, bring it down to a simmer and let it simmer for as long as you like. I’ve heard 5 hours is a good amount of time.
  4. In the last hour or so of your self appointed simmering time, add the carrots and celery and bring to a boil.


Soup! After 1 week it made my toenails pink 🙂


  1. Important: do NOT boil/simmer the herbs in a metal pot. Only use ceramic or clay as the metal will react with some herbs. You can parboil the chicken in a metal pot, but not Step 3 onwards.
  2. You can use chicken pieces if peeling is not your thing. Chicken bones make the stock tastier but not necessary.
  3. Drink the soup as soon as possible for maximum benefit. Everything can be eaten except for the Astralagus as it is too fibrousy.
  4. Keep the lid on when boiling/simmering to retain certain medicinal properties.
  5. Black chicken is less fatty than normal chicken so that is preferable. I saw it for AUD$15/kg at the butcher’s in Market City, Chinatown and decided that the AUD$5/kg Coles variety is good enough for me  :p
  6. Make sure you heat the soup thoroughly post refrigeration to prevent salmonellosis. The entire portion of soup must reach a minimum of 60°C for 60 seconds to ensure safe consumption.

I’m sorry I haven’t posted quantities of herbs as this is my first time and I suppose its trial and error to find a good combination. I like herby soups having grown up with Bah Ku Teh so stronger is better for me, but other people might prefer it to be subtle so it is really up to you. Generally you can’t really taste the herbs since the soup is quite sweet and tasty.

Medicinal properties of the herbs will be posted separately since I hate long posts (don’t you?  :p ).